​​​​Heartfelt Triumph: Uzair's Conquest Over CHD

There is a Chinese​ proverb that says, “When the heart is at ease, the body is healthy."

Muhammad Ali knows only too well how​ true this is, having been part of his young son's journey of struggle and eventual victory.

Muhammad Ali hails from Skardu, a remote hill station located at the base of the Karakoram Mountain range, in northern Pakistan. He left his tourist hometown and moved to Karachi with his family in pursuit of a better livelihood a few years ago, and settled in the area of North Karachi. Ali started work as a naib pesh-imam at a religious seminary in the neighbourhood.

Life was good for Ali, and it became bloomed further with the birth of his son, Uzair. Uzair was the apple of parents' eyes and seemed to be a happy, healthy baby in the initial months of life. But soon, he began to exhibit listlessness and lethargy. Frequently, he would be short of breath and turn blue. Ali and his wife began to worry and when the symptoms lingered, Ali took Uzair to see a doctor at a neighbourhood hospital.

The doctor ran a few tests on the baby, and informed the parents that Uzair had congenital heart disease (CHD) – he had a hole in his heart. The doctor then performed a small procedure to improve the blood flow, but advised Ali and his wife that Uzair would need open-heart surgery when he was in his teens.

Ali and his wife returned home with what seemed like the weight of the world put on their shoulders. For the next eleven years, they saw Uzair's symptoms become a part of his identity; blue-tinged skin, shortness of breath, and consistent fatigue. He could not play with the other children in the streets, and remained at home after he came back from school.

Uzair contracted Dengue, and his symptoms worsened. He even developed intense pain in his bones. Seeing their young child in pain and misery, Ali and his wife would frequently cry in despair. Uzair needed urgent medical help.

Luckily, around the same time, Ali learned about The Aga Khan University Hospital when he came across a newspaper advertisement highlighting the hospital's expertise in CHD treatment. The advert also spoke about the financial aid available to patients through The Patients' Behbud Society for AKUH.

Seeing this as the light of hope that he needed, Ali took Uzair to see a doctor at the AKUH's Stadium Road Karachi campus. The doctor's appointment was followed by a few tests, after which the doctor confirmed that Uzair had a hole in his heart. He further added that two of Uzair arteries connected to his heart were flipped. This is a rare, but serious medical condition called TGA, or Transposition of the Great Arteries. Only medical intervention via surgery can cure this condition. The doctor stressed that this surgery was imperative, and avoiding it would be fatal for Uzair.

Without any delay, an open-heart surgery was performed on Uzair by a team of skilled cardiac surgeons at AKUH. Post surgery, he was put under observation to ensure his treatment was successful. Later, when doctors came into his room and asked Uzair how he felt, he  said he felt much better and no longer felt fatigued or winded. Upon hearing Uzair say this, Ali and his wife breathed a sigh of relief. Their long struggle had come to an end, and their child was finally healthy and happy.

With the treatment complete and successful, Ali was handed a bill of Rs. 2.5 million. Recalling that newspaper advertisement, Ali reached out to The Patients' Behbud Society for AKUH. After submitting his application and documents, he was surprised to know that he would not need to pay a single rupee for Uzair's treatment. The Patients' Behbud Society for AKUH covered the entire cost of the treatment including consultations, and medications.

Elated with Uzair's successful treatment and progress, Ali and his wife were profoundly grateful for the help PBS for AKUH had extended to them. “I thank everyone at PBS for AKUH for their help. I thank all the donors who provided support to us. Health is the biggest blessing we can have. As the Quran says, whoever saves a life, it is as if he saved the entire mankind."

Uzair is a sixth-grade student now. And he actively participates in sports. Cricket is his favourite, and his face gleams when he says, “I was born with a hole in my heart, and always dreamed of playing like my friends could. Thanks to the Patients' Behbud Society for AKUH, Now I can play cricket and run as much as I want to!"​​

For further information:

Call: +92 300 072 3000 | +92 21 3486 3000

Facebook: The Patient's Behbud Society for Aga Khan University Hospital

Email: patients.behbud@aku.edu​​​​​